Monday, September 5, 2011

Balls Invades Leeds

Today’s Yorkshire Evening Post has a rather boring story about Ed Balls being concerned about local road safety. However being photographed at the “junction of Melton Avenue and Sharp Lane” he’s not actually in his constituency. Everything to the left of the motorway on this map is actually in Hilary Benn’s seat. It seems like a pretty basic error for an MP not to even know where his own constituency starts and finishes, but as so often with Ed Balls, this is surely too much of a coincidence…

When the result of the Parliamentary Boundary review is announced, Leeds is expected to lose one seat – which is likely to result in an all out punch-up between Hilary Benn, who is currently in Leeds Central, and Balls who only just retained his neighbouring Morley and Outwood seat at the last election. It Looks like Ed is already parking his tank… 

Hari Confesses, Blames Depression

Guido’s man-in-the-know tells him that Johann Hari has confessed all to Andreas Whittam Smith, who is charged by the Independent with investigating the plagiarism charges. He has apparently owned up to being “David Rose”. Which means he has implicitly confessed to harassing the likes of Christina Odone, Nick Cohen and Francis Wheen, altering their Wikipedia pages to reflect negatively on them. In Odone’s case he went so far as to question her sanity and accuse her of all manner of falsehoods. He has, Guido is told, blamed his lying, cheating and smearing behaviour on “depression”. 

Rumour: LibDem Chief Exec Quits

Order of the OTT – “Free Schools Will Cause Riots”

Along with Alastair Campbell’s partner Fiona Millar, Francis Gilbert is the co-founder of the Local Schools Network – an anti academy front group set up to try to derail school reform. Paul Goodman over at ConservativeHome is a real fan. This morning Gilbert took to BBC Breakfast in a last ditch effort to talk down the Free School project that is seeing the first batch opening their doors this week:

FG: You’ll get a certain type of middle class parent putting their child into this school and then the local state school will take the more socially deprived pupils who don’t have the savvy parents. So you get this kind of segregation which  has led to things like the London riots in our schools already…

BBC: Let me just stop you there. You’re saying segregation in education in London schools led to the London riots..?

FG: It contributed a certain factor because you’ve got the poorest students concentrated in a quarter of our schools in this country and that’s a real problem. So we really need to solve that by bringing all our children together and this free schools programme will contribute more to this social segregation.

No doubt he is fully signed up to the non-reality based community theory that the riots were caused by teenagers having their Educational Maintainence Allowance cut…

Labour Shadow Minister Says Murdoch Worse than Gaddafi

One day back in Westminster and the gaffes begin. Diane Abbott thinks Tony Blair overseeing the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects and cutting a deal with the murderous Gaddafi regime isn’t as bad as the fact he is godfather to one of Murdoch’s kids:

Guido would like to know how many of her Labour colleagues agree…

Dave Twists the Labour/Libya Knife

The Prime Minister’s Spokesman told the Lobby this morning that Cameron wants an inquiry into allegations of extraordinary rendition of terror suspects:

“We’ve shown that we’re prepared to look at what happened in the past and ensure that way we behave stands up to scrutiny”

It’s at rare times like this that Labour must breathe a sigh of relief that Ed is their leader, rather than his brother – the former Foreign Secretary. This could get very messy for Labour and it’s an obvious open goal for the government. Though any inquiry should be given much more scope than just these allegations. Hague’s line at the weekend pretty much sums up the Tory position: The allegations “relate to a period under the previous government, so I have no knowledge of those.” Ouch…

Upon hearing former Indy editor Andreas Whittam Smith call the disgraced journalist Johann Hari a “genius”Mail columnist Tom Utley yelled:

“Then what the FUCK are you doing chairing the inquiry into his conduct?” 

Google’s Latest Cameroon Loyalist

It came as surprise when PR Week broke the news on Friday that Tim Chatwin was leaving his Downing Street strategic comms role:

“…Tim is an absolute bolt out of the blue. He’s an uber-loyalist – I always thought he’d be last man standing.”

What is less surprising is where he is heading – Google. 

Back in July the Sunday Times’s FoIs revealed that senior Downing Street officials have had over twenty meetings with Google since the election. Accusations of preferential treatment were thrown around when Hilton, whose wife is a Google VP, did not declare all of his meetings with the group. This is especially murky given that Google are lobbying hard for changes to UK copyright law. Now they have poached a key cog in Cameroon machine. It’s all rather too cosy for Guido’s liking. A long spell in the cooler is surely a necessity before the Chatwin hits sunny California…

UPDATE: Policy wonk James O’Shaughnessy is also said to be off. Though that one has done the rounds many times…

Bada Bing, Bada Deng

If you were wondering why Tony Blair was so quiet during the phone-hacking crisis, no look further than the Vogue interview with Murdoch’s wife, and chief bodyguard, Wendi Deng. It’s not online yet, but  The Telegraph reports that it claims Blair is the godfather to one of the Murdoch’s children:

“The journalist who conducted the interview for Vogue is said to move in the same circles as the Murdochs in New York. While Mrs Murdoch does not comment on Mr Blair directly, the article states that Miss Kidman, Mr Jackman and Mr Blair are godparents. It claims that Mr Blair attended the Jordanian ceremony “garbed in white” and describes him as one of Mrs Murdoch’s “closest friends”.They have a mutual friend in Queen Rania of Jordan, who hosted the baptism.”

He’ll be creeping up to the Gaddafi family next…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View


Seen Elsewhere

Longlist to Succeed Hague | ConHome
Newmark Nonsense An Excuse to Bash Tabloids | Spiked
Kay Burley’s Top Twitter Zingers | Buzzfeed
Why Tory Tax Cut Pledge is Good News | Allister Heath
ONS Admits Economy Stronger Than It Thought | Speccie
Cameron’s Concessions to UKIP | Nick Wood
#TM4PM: It’s On | Speccie
Path to Defeat Obvious for Both Labour and Tories | Rafael Behr
It’s Boris v May | Sun
Farage is Outflanking the Tories | Guardian
Boris is Right About Grammar Schools | Conservative Women


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David Cameron on political promiscuity…

“On May 7 you could go to bed with Nigel Farage and wake up with Ed Miliband. Not one bit of that works for me.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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